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Local Authorities

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (313)

John Brady

Ceist:

313. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the position in relation to procurement for local authorities; if they have discretion in relation to using their own suppliers for stationery supplies and other such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29167/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not have direct involvement in executive functions such as procurement, carried out by a local authority.  Under Section 149 of the Local Government Act 2001, the Chief Executive of a local authority is responsible for the executive functions of the local authority, and for that purpose to manage and control generally, the administration and business of the authority, subject to law.

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP), an office within the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, was established for the purpose of centralising procurement arrangements for common goods and services right across the public sector, including local authorities.  The OGP has established a number of Framework Agreements and Contracts for goods and general services.   The Local Government Operational Procurement Centre (LGOPC) based in Kerry County Council has responsibility for the operation of certain procurement categories.  The LGOPC operates the SupplyGov frameworks website, acting as a central procurement authority for those categories, on behalf of the Public Sector.

If the supplies, general services, works or works related services required are not included in any of the established Framework Agreements, local authorities proceed to conduct an appropriate competitive process under EU and National rules.  Prescribed procedures governing public procurement are set out in EU Directives, which apply only to contracts that are above the relevant EU advertising thresholds. Public procurement below the relevant EU threshold is subject to National procurement rules that are set out in National Guidelines (Public Procurement Guidelines – Competitive Process published by the Department of Finance in 2004) and subsequent Circulars, the most recent being Circular 10/14 issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in April 2014. Circular 10/14 replaced the Department of Finance Circular 10/10 issued in August 2010.

My Department works closely with the Local Government Strategic Procurement Centre (LGSPC), which acts as a conduit between the Department, the Local Government Sector and the OGP, and is represented on the LGSPC Programme Board. The LGSPC provides additional supports to local authorities to ensure compliance by the sector in the use of all national frameworks and application of all relevant legislation and circulars relating to procurement.  The LGSPC also supports training for SMEs and small/micro business suppliers to improve their engagement with the public procurement process. 

Notwithstanding the above, procurement and tendering processes carried out by each local authority, and compliance with procurement rules in relation to the same, are directly a matter for the relevant Chief Executive.

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